Nigerian Senate Urges President Tinubu To Reduce Nigeria’s High Debt Profile


Nigeria’s Senate President Godswill Akpabio has urged President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to do everything within his power to reduce the nation’s high debt profile.

Senator Akpabio made the appeal on Wednesday during the presentation of the 2024 budget by President Tinubu in Abuja.

He also implored the president to mandate his ministers and heads of agencies to avoid any travelling engagements that would prevent them from honouring invitations of the National Assembly to promptly appear before its committees to defend their budget estimates.

On the nation’s worrisome debt profile, Senator Akpabio said that the National Assembly was aware that President Tinubu inherited a heavy burden from the last administration. Nevertheless, the mark of a great leader is that he fixes the problems wherever they exist, Senator Akpabio remarked.

He further expressed optimism that with the spirit of unity and collaboration between the Executive and the Legislature, the challenges of the country could be overcome and usher in an era of unprecedented development through reinvigorated revenue generation and fiscal prudence.

Senator Akpabio stressed the need to encourage the Executive arm to unbundle some agencies for effectiveness and merge agencies of government which job definitions or roles overlap for greater effectiveness, noting the need for the country to return to agriculture as a way of stopping the overdependence on crude oil. 

He lamented that a mono-economy was adversely affecting the country, describing the situation as a risk the country had taken for too long and, therefore, could not continue to tempt providence.

“In our people-focused legislative agenda, we place a strong emphasis on national security, recognizing it as a cornerstone for progress.

“These challenges demand a united front. We remain steadfast in our determination to work collaboratively with the Executive to address and overcome the security challenges confronting our nation.

“In this National Assembly, the death of any Nigerian equates a loss of a constituent. So whenever we lose anyone to insecurity, it is the sound of the ambulance passing by our window.

“We believe that insecurity can and must be stopped, and it must be stopped by all Nigerians rallying around and supporting government’s efforts.

“We also want to seize this opportunity to appreciate our Armed Forces for fighting for us and sometimes paying the supreme sacrifice for us. 

“Mr President, sir, as the removal of the petroleum subsidy caused some discomfort in the nation, you responded with compassion and doled out palliatives to assuage the effects on the people.

“We, the elected representatives of the masses of this country, took note of the responsiveness of your government. We have also taken note that these bold decisions taken so far by this government have created some measures of economic discomfort for some Nigerians.

“We plead for continued support for the government to actualize the long term benefits of these policies.

“The pain of today is like the pain of childbirth: when the result (the baby) manifests, we will rejoice and forget the pains.

“However, we hope these budgetary estimates contain provisions to ameliorate the sufferings that the economic measures have exacted on our fellow citizens whom we represent here.

“The two chambers of this Assembly are the two wings upon which not only the Executive will soar, but the whole country would rise as well. 

“There is unparalleled unity between the two chambers. Recently, the House of Representatives set forth its legislative agenda, and that of the Senate will be out in due course.

“Both chambers believe that we need to encourage the Executive arm to unbundle some agencies for effectiveness and merge agencies of government, which job definitions or roles overlap for greater effectiveness.

“We deem it necessary for our country to go back to agriculture as a way of stopping the overdependence on crude oil. A mono-economy is putting all our eggs in one basket. It is a risk we have taken for too long and we cannot continue to tempt providence.

“We also believe that education should be prioritized and something done to stop frequent closures. If we do not checkmate the braindrain, the drain will numb our brains. This is why we must open the door of education because when you open the door of education, you close the door of the prison.

“We also want to plead with the government to do all within its powers to reduce our high debt profile.

“We know that Mr President inherited this worrisome burden. But then the mark of a great leader is that he fixes the problems wherever they exist,” said the Senate president.

The Nigerian Senate President then assured Nigerians of continued support in the war against corruption and also collaboration with anti-graft agencies to ensure the country is on a new growth trajectory.  

President Tinubu on Wednesday, 29 November 2023, presented the 2024 Appropriation Bill of a record N27.5 trillion to the joint session of the National Assembly.

The president said the ‘Budget of Renewed Hope’ will ensure micro-economic stability, poverty reduction, and greater access to social security, amongst others.

It is President Tinubu’s first budget presentation before the joint session of the National Assembly since he assumed office on May 29, 2023.

President Tinubu arrived at the National Assembly complex around 11:10 a.m alongside his entourage, including Vice President Kashim Shettima; the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume; Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike; and the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Abdullahi Ganjude, amongst others.